To me, it seemed fitting that this year’s annual DIA meeting (June 23 – 27) was held in Boston, a city synonymous with the American Revolution. After all, there’s a revolution going on today regarding how technology is transforming healthcare delivery, and this topic couldn’t have been more evident throughout the DIA event.
It all started with the keynote address from Daniel Kraft, M.D. A Stanford- and Harvard- trained physician-scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, and innovator, Kraft began his discussion noting how medicine is still being done in silos, which isn’t much different from when he trained at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) some 20 years ago. According to Kraft, the mindset of practicing sick care is shifting toward patient wellness and outcomes. This will drive the practice of medicine away from the hospital and into the home. Patients will be able to use technology to assist clinicians in triage, diagnosis, and remote treatment. For example, the Scanadu Scout is a small scanning device that can quickly grab your vitals and transmit them to a smartphone. Healthcare apps developed for smartphones can track drugs, monitor patient compliance, and assist with treatment. Google glass is a camera, touchpad, battery and microphone built into spectacle frames, which can be worn. Imagine surgeons, field healthcare providers, first responders, or even laypeople being able to use the Internet to gain access to live expert assistance. Matternet, a Palo Alto, CA start-up, is striving to use aerial drones (similar to what the military uses) for purposes such as delivering drugs in difficult to reach areas. Scientists and physicians at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine were the first in the world to engineer laboratory-grown organs that were successful implanted into humans. Imagine a day when we can create an organ transplant with a 3D printer. It is not as far-fetched as you might think. In fact, Kraft believes the future of medicine is already here, thanks in large part to medical treatments increasingly coming from outside of healthcare.
DIA Bringing Thought Leaders And Patients Together
For the past two years I have had the opportunity to hear DIA keynote speeches by visionary thought leaders, such as Kraft and Dean Kamen, who are not satisfied with the status quo in healthcare treatments. DIA brings together industry key opinion leaders who are working to execute on their visions. For example, at this year’s meeting I had the opportunity to meet with chief medical officers Michael Rosenblatt, M.D., (Merck) and Tim Garnett, M.D. (Lilly). Craig Lipset, head of clinical innovation within worldwide R&D at Pfizer routinely attends DIA, as does FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. Academics, healthcare providers, as well as CEOs from the vendor side of the equation (i.e. Chiltern’s Jim Esinhart) shared with me their strategies and tactics for successful collaboration. But as we all know, the patient will play an ever increasingly important role in their own healthcare.
To facilitate patient involvement in the conference, DIA developed the patient fellowship program whereby 20 representatives were selected through a competitive process. These individuals had the opportunity to develop, strengthen, and support collaboration with all of the above-mentioned healthcare stakeholders. Want to get involved? DIA’s 50th annual meeting will take place June 15-19 in San Diego, CA. I already have it in my calendar and you should too. Hope to see you there.